3 players making waves at Sixers training camp

Sixers training camp (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Sixers training camp (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Sixers training camp is underway, with their first preseason match — a highly anticipated road game in Brooklyn on Oct. 3 — right around the corner. The main storyline entering camp was James Harden’s conditioning and comfort level. After his first proper offseason in two years, all eyes are pointed at the Sixers’ star playmaker.

While Harden’s performance level could very well determine whether or not the Sixers’ compete for a championship, he’s not the only name making waves at training camp. In fact, these three players in particular have earned extensive praise from teammates and coaches.

Let’s start with a player who’s disrupting practice in the most positive sense possible.

Sixers standouts at training camp: De’Anthony Melton

"“Other than PJ [Tucker], the best defensive player by a long shot was De’Anthony Melton. He actually, in some ways, screwed practice up because we were having guys pick up full court, but we couldn’t run our offense. He was disrupting the guards a lot today.” — Doc Rivers (via Ky Carlin/SixersWire)"

The Sixers traded for De’Anthony Melton on draft night. It was arguably Daryl Morey’s biggest splash outside of re-signing Harden, as Melton’s arrival brought about the end of an era (Danny Green) and reaffirmed the Sixers’ desire to win games right now.

A second-round pick in 2018, Melton entered the NBA with a mean defensive reputation. He famously battled for (and lost) Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year to Matisse Thybulle, now his teammate. He was also drafted by (you guessed it) Daryl Morey, who pretty much only sought out former Rockets over the summer.

Melton’s defense is going to make him a staple in the Sixers’ rotation. Next to Thybulle, he is by far the best guard defender on the roster. He’s only listed at 6-foot-2, but Melton wields a 6-foot-8 wingspan, giving him real versatility on the perimeter. Depending on matchup, he is going to close a lot of games over P.J. Tucker.

That Melton is bringing such a fervent competitive spirit to Sixers practice is a good sign. The Sixers lacked toughness and energy last season. Melton is going to make James Harden and Tyrese Maxey work in practice, which should make the transition back to game speed that much easier for the Sixers’ star backcourt once the season arrives.